Winner of CCNMA’s 15th Ruben Salazar Awards

CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California today announced the winner of its 15th Ruben Salazar Journalism Awards recognizing work published or broadcast in California that exemplifies journalistic excellence while contributing to a better understanding of Latinos.

Leslie Berestein RojasLeslie Berestein Rojas, Immigration and Emerging Communities Reporter for 89.3 KPCC in Pasadena, has won in the radio category for her story “DNA From LA Area Immigrants Could Solve Painful Mysteries From Guatemala’s Civil War.”  The story focuses on a project that uses DNA to identify the bodies of some of Guatemala’s roughly 45,000 wartime desaparecidos.

The judges said: “The writing is excellent as a piece of prose and well done on radio. She presented a story vivid with color and yet managed to tuck the Guatemalan tragedy neatly into the reader’s and listener’s mind without having to unleash that 800-pound gorilla.”

There were no winners this year in the other categories.

Judging was done by retired veteran journalists in the Los Angeles area.

The awards are named after the late Ruben Salazar, who at the time of his death in 1970 was a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and news director of Spanish-language television station KMEX in Los Angeles.

The awards will be formally presented at CCNMA’s 34th Scholarship Banquet on May 30, 2014, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. The honorees that night will be Dawn Garcia of the Knight Fellowships at Stanford; Phillip Rodriguez, producer of the film “Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle”: Tony Valdez of Fox11 in Los Angeles; and Southern California Public Radio 89.3 KPCC in Pasadena.